Well, we still have some time before the start of the 2012-13 season (and yes, I AM aware there is a CBA/work stoppage potential issue there as well…shudder…), but I thought it about time to start looking at how some facets of the Minnesota Wild is shaping up.
I’d like this thread to stay focused on the defense.
Obviously, mentions about goaltending go with defense, and even how the forwards can help that as well. All fine and dandy, and if relevant, mention could be made about those.
Seeing as how Minnesota’s main problem last season was goal scoring, an entire thread could be made to discuss forwards and the offense
However, I’d like the thread to stay mostly on the actual defensemen themselves.
Things like, who will be major contributors, who seems to be in Minnesota for the long term, who may find their way out, who may have trouble cracking the lineup on a regular basis, and who may get a shot at the NHL from AHL Houston.
Overall, last season's Wild defense was pretty decent, though obviously, there were many times where they played like a mostly young D-men crew.
I've seen some good games played by the D as a whole, some ok ones where a miscue here or there may have cost them a game, and some where quite frankly, if it wasn't for the goaltending of Backstrom, Harding, and even Hackett, the Wild could have easily been blown out of the water.
All three of these goalies, BTW, look to start the season either with the Wild, or with the Aeros.
They ranked 13th in GA (2.6 gpg), and 15th on the PK at 82.1%...middling at best.
Well, with some 'trimming of the fat' on the defensive side of things, some maturing of current young defensemen, and of course, the addition of still yet others, I look for the Wild defense to not only be better, but help to contribute to the woeful offense that was the 2011-12 season.
If all goes well with health and performance, there is no reason why Minnesota's defense
can't rise above it's 'middling' status.